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The term “Slow Psychiatry” was invented by the American psychiatrist Sandra Steingard. It arose in the context of her “Open Dialogue” work, and was inspired by the Italian “Slow Food” movement in the 1980s, which was a protest against the industrialization of what we eat and how we eat it.

Today’s psychiatry, and mental health in general, are largely dehumanized fields, which are owned and governed by technocrats and bureaucrats. This leaves therapies devoid of values, and focused on “sticking-plaster” remedies and returning “sick people” to the neoliberal jungle. There is no time or interest to understand the pain and suffering, to listen to personal stories, or to know their contexts. Numbers and metrics – symptom questionnaire scores, prevalence rates, hospital beds, employment rates and disability benefits – have become more important than relationships between us, connecting people with each other, and nurturing as a vital part of healing.

In the 5th International Meeting and associated events you will hear challenging but well-evidenced critiques of the mainstream mental health system. You will engage in debates and experiential work that will challenge your current view, or expand on your current ideas.

Do look at the various events taken place from Monday 15th to Saturday 20th of April – and join us in building a dialogic, democratic and relational mental health system that is respectful of human rights.

5th International Mental Health Meeting of Romão de Sousa Foundation